DESERT TO PALM 2 INSTALLATION (2015)
The innovative approach to landscape photography favored by British-born, LA-based Jeremy Kidd is rooted as much in sculpture as in painting. Which is apt, as his grandparents were the British artists Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. "I've always been aware of the landscape as something sculptural," he reflects, though in his pursuit of the sublime, he clearly takes a page from the Hudson River School painters. For Kidd, discovering the vastness of the American West while driving cross-country to Los Angeles in 1986, was transformative: "a fundamental experience of freedom... What was most profound was coming out of Death Valley, where it was 115 degrees, and seeing snow-capped mountains: for a European, that's a stunning experience.
His first attempt at making one image from multiple exposures came at Mt. San Jacinto, near Palm Springs, and asking himself "How do you express the experience in one photograph?" Not wanting to mimic a Hockney, he kept going back at different times of day, then combined the shots. Since then, he has evolved his technique of digitally weaving together multiple shots of a location into glossy irregular tapestries that meld different views and times, in sites as disparate as Hong Kong, St. Petersburg and London, as solid columns seem to branch out like cacti and the world swerves around the viewer in sinuous panoramas. In nature or city, l'm really looking for exactly the same thing, a particular vortex of elements," he says When you're having a sublime experience, it's partially about grandeur... but more than that, a kind of energy. So l'm often trying to impart that, which is why I like big pieces: it's more of a whole body experience.
For his newest work, Kidd has fittingly returned to the desert around Palm Springs. In Big Horn Palm Desert (2014), he captures a rocky vista with cacti in the foreground, and the glittering desert town in the background: strikingly, the image blends shots from four distinct times of day, as daytime, sunset, midnight and dawn all flow together in dazzling terrestrial continuity. In other works, he melds together fluid motion shots made as iPhone sketches with still images shot afterward, as their horizon lines undulate vertiginously. In Desert to Palm 2 (2015), he presents a row of spindly windmills extending into the foreground, with a deep blue, billowing sky punctuated by one sun and five moons- it rose in the sky over the 3-hour, nighttime shoot.
In a recent iteration, he included a sculptural replica of a wind-mill in front of the image, while one end curls forward to embrace the viewer. "The point at which the image, sculpture, and observer intersect interests me," he explains. The work is just a prelude: Kidd's upcoming show at MOAH in Lancaster, opening next February, focuses on windmills in the surrounding Antelope Valley. "They're surreal, sublime," he states, of encountering the looming, man-made energy totems in the desert. "You either like them, or don't like them. I've chosen to like them.
DESERT TO PALM 2 2015
AUGUST 1, 2015
BY GEORGE MELROD